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Posts Tagged ‘fps’

Master Chiefs Everywhar!!

Master Chiefs Everywhar!!

Really? I mean, really? I have not even played the demo for Halo Wars yet, and I already know what the prime downfall of the game is. I wish someone would tell me what marketing genius decided to adapt the Halo franchise to the RTS genre on a platform that primarly controls with two thumbsticks.

HAS THIS EVER WORKED?

I consider myself a PC gamer first and a console gamer second, so I’ve never given past console RTS’s a chance, given that I could always just go play C&C or Starcraft instead. My opinion is that if you even have to mention the controls in a review, the game has failed. Control issues with a game amounts to the same as when you have that brat kicking the back of your seat in a movie theatre. It removes you from the game, and constantly reminds you that you are not actually a badass space marine, and that you should probably be writing a term paper or doing the dishes instead of wasting your life with an xbox. The immersion factor is what motivates you to procrastinate your daily responsibilities and not feel guilty. When you’re having a good time, it is time well spent. Period.

With this said, why would Microsoft allow a developer to take their flagship franchise, the almighty Halo, and drag it through the mud. Perhaps they feel that the Halo name is so strong, and that the sheer marketing momentum of a new Halo game will overcome the complaints of control issues, and still produce a profitable (albiet not fun) product. Perhaps they are correct. However, if this is their strategy, then it will only produce short-term success.

When it comes to an RTS, the mouse and keyboard always wins. You’re not going to rush anyone when you’re too busy fumbling with shoulder and directional pads. And guess what, when it comes to an FPS, the mouse and keyboard also always wins. No matter how skilled you get with those thumbsticks, when put up against the precision of a mouse, you lose. You lose bad. Like headshots-while-flying-through-the-air-and-shit bad. I’m sure there’s some crazy Korean kid out there with Master-chief sneakers that can prove me wrong, but he’s putting a lot more effort into getting good with a gamepad than I would ever have to put into getting good with a mouse and keyboard to pwn him.

However, this is no secret. Gamers know this, and game developers know this. I predict that this is the main reason you can’t play Left 4 Dead on Xbox Live against PC players. It would no longer be fun. The console gamers would have a severe handicap, at which point, the game no longer competes based on skill. In fact, a few companies have attempted to remedy this issue by manufacturing controller adapters for the xbox. According to the review, it even works!

With this said, I will attempt another prediction. Even if you were to get Halo Wars to work flawlessly with a mouse and keyboard setup, all control issues aside, you would be left with a mediocre RTS. The developer focused so much on getting the controls right, I have no doubt that game quality was sacrificed. When I watch youtube videos of squads of Spartans (Master Chiefs) attacking enemies, I can’t help but think of continuity errors. For the last decade, Bungie has showed us that a single Spartan (you) can single handedly beat everyone’s asses. But in Halo Wars, you need a squad of these fellows, and they probably die a lot.

(EDIT: Shortly after writing this blog, I came across this article: http://rtspcgames.com/gaming/halo-wars-controls-better-than-a-pc-rts/.  I think someone is lying to us…)

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While looking through some “Black Friday” sales ads this morning, I noticed that Eidos has a new Tomb Raider game out for the Nds. “Tomb Raider: Underworld”. It blows my mind that this franchise is still making money. Do people actually play these games? More so, do people actually get excited out the release of a new Tomb Raider game? Obviously the answer to both of these questions is yes. I remember past frustrations anytime I would encounter a jumping puzzle in an FPS or Third Person game. Every single time they would harvest a fresh crop of expletives from my mouth. But these people who play (and enjoy even) the Tomb Raider series actually yearn for these jumping puzzles!

This boggles my brain.

In my opinion, jumping puzzles in any environment other than a side-scrolling game are flawed. This is especially true for first person shooters. Game developers who implement jumping puzzles ask for accurate, precise jumping maneuvers and foot placement, while in the same instance, don’t let you see your fucking feet. Third person improves the situation quite a bit, but it is still far from perfect. In these games you can see your entire character, and use your character’s size as a scale to judge distances and heights. Generally scale and lack of depth perception is the flaw in the third person perspective. You often see a platform which looks obtainable from your current position, but as soon as you leap into the air you start trying to remember where you last quicksaved. Also, I’m surprised that after all the years of this style game, developers have yet to fix all the clipping and edge dectection issues that plague third person. Anyone who’s ever played Tomb Raider knows exactly how to nudge Lara Croft to the edge of a cliff until she is left hovering in midair like some scantily clad Wiley Coyote. They must be into at least the tenth installment of this series by now, and I would bet money that you can still do this. Additionally, I would bet money that at some point while playing I will curse aloud because of a shoddy camera angle that prevents me from seeing anything useful, and I will notice my head, back, and appendages gracefully disappear into at least twenty solid brick walls throughout the game.

Basically my point is that the Tomb Raider games are built on a foundation of flawed gameplay mechanics and idiotic jumping puzzles. However, people dont seem to mind, afterall, they’re still making (and selling) them. I guess it’s a love/hate thing. Either you can’t get enough of Tomb Raider and eagerly await each new installment, or you only played through the first TR until the charm of the nude patch wore off, then you went back to playing Action Quake over the LAN.

Update: Out of curiosity, I checked Gamespot for some Tomb Raider: Underworld player reviews. Here’s what I found:

tr_reviews1

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